Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homemade Butter



                                                                              
While we're on the subject of homemade cornbread, then we will want a delicious homemade butter made from raw cow's milk. I belong to a herdshare and get 2 gallons of raw milk each week. The rich cream from my Jersey cow rises to the top and I am then able to skim it off. When I want to make butter, I put the milk in wide-mouth Mason jars for ease of skimming the cream. Jerseys give good, rich milk, with yellowish milk in the early spring/summer. The rich butter fat is very good for you. The girls hate it when I make butter because they like the richness of the milk with the cream left intact.

Homemade Butter

Wait a few days after milking to skim your cream. The older the cream, the easier it is to make into butter. Because I like sweet cream butter, I use the cream two to three days after the cow has been milked.
Skim all the cream you can from the top of your milk. With two gallons of milk I easily get around a half pound of butter. I cheat and use my Kitchen-Aid mixer, which does all the work for me.
Place the cream in the mixing bowl and place the beater in the bowl. Turn on to medium and allow to whip the cream. This process takes about 1 hour or so before butter appears. About a half hour into beating, you will end up with whipped cream. If you want the whipped cream, add some powdered sugar, to taste, and some vanilla, then remove and use with your desserts. If you want butter, keep beating. You will see small butter pieces start to form on sides of bowl, with a rubber spatula, push these back into the bowl. You will still have another 10-20 minutes before you have butter. The butter will form all at once and then the buttermilk will begin to slosh out of the bowl, so watch carefully.
Once the butter is formed, turn off the mixer and scrape all butter out of the beater into a small glass bowl like you see above. Once all butter is formed and into bowl, pat together and begin to run under cold water so you can get all the milk out of the butter. If you don't get this out your butter will go rancid much faster.
The butter actually gets similar to putty under the water and I am able to use my hands to squeeze all the remaining milk from my butter. Place back in bowl, add some real sea salt, mix in well, and wrap well with plastic wrap. You can make it into a ball, a long cigar shape as I did above, or in a mold. Use like you would any other butter. There are special containers you can buy where the butter stays in water which extends the life of the butter. Because I use raw cream to make my butter, I keep it in the refrigerator.
The color is naturally very golden as grass-fed cow's milk is high in beta-carotene, as well as other vitamins and minerals.


Yankee Cornbread

                                                                                         
We Yanks like our cornbread sweet and cake-like. I don't like southern cornbread as it is not sweet and is too dry for my tastes. I like the yellow cornmeal best, but feel free to try this with white cornmeal, though I think you will end up with a drier version. I have made this with organic corn meal that is very rustic, and though I like it, most kids won't as it is a coarse meal that is kind of chewy in places. If you want to avoid GMO corn, then you must use organic meal. This is a delicious corn bread that is every bit as good or better than the kind that comes in a box. I've been making this recipe for more than 25 years. I found the original recipe in the Columbus Dispatch Food Section, but then I modified it to fit what we like. The above picture is a cornbread made with organic corn meal. I bought the meal from Ashery Farms in Heath, Ohio.

Yankee Cornbread

1 cup unbleached white flour*
1 cup cornmeal, organic, if possible
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
dash real sea salt (pink kind)*
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbls. organic palm shortening, melted*

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Sift together dry ingredients and place in medium mixing bowl.
Combine milk, eggs, and shortening and beat well.
Add the egg mixture ot the dry mixture and blend just till moistened (don't over mix).
With palm shortening, grease a 9" x 9" square pan. Pour batter into pan, levelling top.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or till golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean,
Serve hot with plenty of real butter.
*You could use whole wheat flour, if you'd like, but you'll get a different taste.
*We use Redmond's Real Salt, a real sea salt that is pink and has trace minerals in it.
*I use organic palm shortening in place of vegetable shortening as it is a much healthier choice. I buy my palm shortening from Tropical Traditions. You can find them on the web.


Ham and Pinto Bean Soup

                                                                        
I know this is more for a fall or winter meal, but it is so good that I want to go ahead and post it. A year and a half ago I had leftover ham from Christmas and wanted to use it up. What to make? So I made up this soup that was so very delicious. I told Bob I wasn't sure if he'd like it, but on the very first bite he involuntarily said, "Mmmm..." and loved it. It was really good. I think I wrote it down somewhere, but I  think I can remember how I made it. The addition of the cumin and chili powder give it a bit of a 'chili' taste, but this is more subtle. One chilly night try this as you will love it. I served this with homemade cornbread with lots of real butter.

Ham and Pinto Bean Soup

1/4 to 1/2 pound smoky, thick cut bacon*
1 medium onion or shallots, chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 boxes (32 oz.) organic chicken stock or broth*
4 cans (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon  chili powder
pepper, to taste
Leftover ham cut into bite-sized pieces (I used at least 2 pounds ham)


Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces and fry up in a Dutch oven. When bacon is almost done, add onions and green peppers and saute till bacon is done and onions are becoming clear. Add garlic and cook another minute or two. Add the boxes of chicken broth and the 4 cans of pintos; bring to a boil. Add the spices, turn down heat, and simmer for a few minutes. Add the ham and allow to simmer for a half hour to combine flavors. Serve with chopped scallions and corn bread. You can also add grated Co-Jack cheese, if desired.

*Try to make sure your bacon is not too fatty as you will be using the grease for frying vegetables and as part of the flavor of the soup. I used a sassafrass smoked bacon that was thick-cut.
*You can use your own homemade stock or broth.
*You can make your own 1 pound package of beans from scratch, just start the night before as you will need to soak the beans before cooking them.

Blender Pineapple Jam

                                                            
Blender Pineapple Jam

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (Knox or store brand)
2 Tbls. water or apple juice
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice
sugar, to taste*

Sprinkle gelatin on cold water or juice in blender or food processor; wait one minute to soften. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Bring juic to a boil and add to gelatin in blender. Cover and blend until gelatin granules dissolve (scrape down sides of blender). Add pineapple, cover and blend till smooth. Sweeten to taste. Pour into 3 hot, sterilized half pint jars, add lids and store in fridge after it cools. It will set up while in refrigerator.
You could turn these jars upside down for 5 minutes to seal, then right side up, if you like.
Makes about 3 cups.
*Original recipe said to sweeten with artificial sweetener or sugar, and I am using sugar as it is a healthier choice.






Violet Jam

                                                                        
Violet Jam

1 cup firmly packed violet blossoms
1 ½ cups water, divided*
Juice of one medium lemon*
2 ½ cups sugar
1 pkg (3 oz) powdered pectin

In an electric blender or food processor, blend 3/4 cup of water, the lemon juice and the violet blossoms until the mixture resembles a smooth paste. Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of sugar and blend until dissolved. In a small saucepan stir the powdered pectin into 3/4 cup of water and boil for one minute. Pour into the violet blossom mixture and blend about one minute. Quickly pour into small sterilized glass jars and seal. After the jam has cooled, keep it in the refrigerator for three weeks or store it for up to a year in the freezer.

Tips:
*The use of spring or distilled water would be better than tap water.
*Make sure you ream a fresh lemon so you use real lemon juice.



Slow-Cooker Apple Butter

                                                                      
Slow-Cooker Apple Butter

10 cups apples, sliced
1 pound brown sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir well. Cook on high for an hour, then on low for 6 1/2 to 7 hours. Take lid off the last half hour. Stir occasionally while cooking to mix ingredients. Refrigerate or freeze. To can, pour into hot sterilized jars, cap, seal, process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.




Tomato Spread

                                                                          
Soon our tomatoes will be coming ripe and this seems an easy recipe to make from the excess.


Tomato Spread

6 cups peeled and chunked tomatoes
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 lemon sliced, very thin (use a kitchen mandolin for even slices)

Combine tomatoes and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, watching constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and add spices and lemon. Cook 2 hours, watching and stirring frequently. When reduced by half, it is done. Skim foam. Pour into hot sterilized half pint jars, leaving 1/4" head room, cap and turn upside down for 5 minutes, then right side up. Let cool.



Onion Jelly

                                                                  
Onion Jelly


2 pounds sweet onions, chopped fine
2 cups water
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 pkg. powdered pectin (1 3/4 oz)
5 1/2 cups sugar

Chop onions very small (mince). Combine onions and water in large saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. Pour mixture through a large wire mesh strainer lined with a wet cheesecloth into a 4 cup measure. Discard pulp. Add water to onion juice to equal 3 cups, if necessary. Combine onion juice, vinegar, and pectin in a large saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar and return to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Quickly pour hot mixture into hot sterilized jelly jars, within 1/4" of top. Wipe off rims, cap and seal. Turn upside down for 5 minutes or process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Makes 7 half pints (8 ounces each).




Mulberry Jelly

                                                                                                                                                      
Some of you may have mulberries or access to them and may want to make some jelly from them. The berries are usually free for the picking. Start this recipe the night before.

Mulberry Jelly

1 pound ripe mulberries (make sure they are not buggy!)
1 cooking apple, chopped*  (gala, granny Smith, golden delicious, etc.)
1/2 cup water
Sugar

Mix together the mulberries, apple, and water in a large saucepan. Simmer, covered for about 20 minutes, or until berries are soft. Pour mixture into a jelly bag and leave to drip for 12 hours. Measure juice and pour into clean saucepan. For every 2 1/2 cups juice, use 1 pound sugar. Add sugar to juice and cook, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly until jelly has reached the setting point, about 10 minutes. Skim jelly and pour into sterilized jars, cap, seal, and turn upside down for 5 minutes, then right side up again. OR process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.
*The apple is the pectin used in this recipe.





Corn Cob Jelly

                                                                  
Corn Cob Jelly

Here's an old-fashioned jelly where our ancestors allowed nothing to go to waste. I'm sure a farmer in your area would give you some old corn cobs.

12 dried corn cobs
3 pints water (48 ounces)
1 pkg. powdered pectin
3 cups sugar
1 Tbls. fresh lemon juice

Use 12 ears dried field corn cobs. Take off all kernels. Rinse well to get off all chaff. Break them in half and put into a pan with water. Boil gently for 30 minutes. Strain juice through a wet cloth (must be wet cloth!).Measure juice to get 3 cups juice. If you must, add enough water to make that amount. To juice add pectin. bring to a boil. Add sugar and heat until sugar dissolves. Boil again for 1 minute or until mixture starts to jell when you lift mixture up with a spoon. It might take another minute of cooking. Add lemon juice. Skim off foam, pour into hot sterilized jars and seal. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath or turn upside down for 5 minutes then right side up.



Cantaloupe Preserves


                                                             
This is another recipe that needs to be started the night before.

Cantaloupe Preserves

2 pounds firm, ripe fruit
4 cups sugar
Juice of one lemon

Peel cantaloupe and cut into thin slices 1" long. Mix sugar with fruit and lt sit all night in a cool place. Add lemon juice and cook until clear. Pour into hot and sterilized jars. Seal and turn upside down for 5 minutes or process for 5 minutes in boiling water bath. Cool, label, and store.




Sun Preserves


                                                                            
Sun Preserves*

This recipe needs to be started the night before.
Add 1 quart sugar to 1 quart strawberries. Cover and let stand overnight in a cool place. In morning, bring to a boil and cook 8 minutes. Pour into a large platter (use a large meat platter or dish) and cover closely with a piece of glass. Set in sun till juice thickens and gels. Cool completely and seal in jars. Keep in refrigerator.

* I got this recipe out of the Columbus Dispatch Food section around 31-37 years ago and copied it verbatim.
I've not ever made this, mainly because I've never had a piece of glass to try this with. Make sure the glass you use does not have sharp edges. We have a glass company on other side of town and maybe next year I will buy a piece and try this recipe. I've read that these taste even better than conventionally made preserves or jam.



Queen Anne's Lace Jelly

                                                                         
I made this jelly about 15 years ago; some liked it and some did not. It was reminiscent of quince jelly to me, which I don't care for, but if you like quince, this may be for you. I am sure there are some good medicinal qualities to this jelly, but enjoy it for its simplicity and the fact that the flowers are free for the picking. Try to pick your flowers (no matter what kind you use) far from the road.

Queen Anne's Lace Jelly

2 cups very firmly packed Queen Anne's Lace flowers cut from stems (or violet, lilac, rose petal, milkweed, clover, elderberry, dandelion, carnation, peony or any edible sweet smelling flowers)
4 3/4 cups boiling water
3 1/2 cups sugar ( 1 1/2 lbs., divided)
1 pkg. Sure-Jel light pectin (I used regular)
4 1/2 Tbls. freshly strained lemon juice

Slosh flowers through cold water to remove any bugs; let sit about 15 minutes to remove them all. You will find bugs!
Place flowers in a pot and cover with boiling water and allow to steep for 15-20 minutes; strain. (You are basically making tea.)
Measure 4 1/2 cups strained infusion into a large kettle. Mix 1/4 cup sugar with pectin and stir into kettle. Bring to a full rolling boil; immediately stir in remaining sugar and boil 1 minute.Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Skim foam from top of jelly with a metal spoon and immediately pour into ho, clean, sterilized jelly jars. Wipe off tops, cover with lids and bands and turn upside down for 5 minutes, then right side up and allow to sit for 24 hours before moving. Makes 6 cups (Makes six 8 ounce jars, also known as half pints.)

The original recipe said to place in jars and seal and when cool to refrigerate, but I treated them like other jellies and jam and sealed them by turning them over for 5 minutes which causes the lids to seal. If you are not comfortable with this, you can place in a boiling water bath for 5-10 minutes to seal.
*Important! Make sure your jars are sterilized before you seal them!!! No one wants to get botulism!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lori's Fettuccine Alfredo With Chicken and Broccoli



                                                                

Mmm....one of my favorite dishes to have when I am craving something rich and creamy. Traditionally, this dish is made with heavy cream, but it separates too easily and so I prefer to work with milk.You can make this without the meat or without the broccoli, or with the broccoli and without the meat. However you make this, it is sure to please.

Lori's Fettuccine Alfredo With Chicken and Broccoli

4-6 grilled chicken breasts
steamed broccoli, whole spears or pieces
1 pound (16 oz) fettuccine noodles
1/2 cup butter
4-5 Tbls. unbleached flour
1-2 cloves garlic, minced*
4 cups milk
Real sea salt and pepper, to taste
about 1/8 tsp. turmeric
1-2 Tbls. dried or fresh parsley
4-5 cups grated Parmesan cheese*
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese*
 
Grill 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned to taste; set aside to keep warm.
Steam the broccoli just till fork tender. Place in a pan, toss with some butter; set aside to stay warm.
Cook noodles according to pkg. directions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy 3 quart pan. Stir in flour to make a roux and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, without browning. Stir in garlic and allow to cook with the flour. Slowly add the milk and stir till hot, bubbly, and thickened. Do not scorch. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in turmeric (for color) and blend well. Stir in parlsey and grated Parmesan cheese. Add a bit more milk if too thick, heat thoroughly.
Place cooked noodles on plate, top with Alfredo sauce, chicken, broccoli, and grate some fresh Parmesan over top. If only using noodles, just grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over top.
You can combine noodles and cheese sauce if you like, but we tend to like ours added separately.
This will feed 6 or more people. You can half this recipe.
 
*Garlic salt or powder can be used instead. If you use garlic salt, do not add extra salt to dish.
*You can use Kraft grated Parmesan in a can, but we buy a 5 pound bag of cheese at GFS and freeze it so we can use it as we want it as we use Parmesan cheese in many dishes, including soups.
*Fresh Parmesan is different in taste and texture from the canned Parmesan. Both add to this dish.
*If you like mushrooms, these can be added to this dish for an extra flavor component. Just cook fresh mushrooms separately, then add to milk mixture while thickening.

Lori's 4 Cheese Baked Ziti


I love the cheesy topping on baked ziti. This recipe is reminiscent of lasagne without the layers, and I think it has an entirely different taste, though I make my cheese layer basically the same way for both. This is delicious and makes a large amount. You can half this recipe or place in two pans, making one for dinner and freezing the other to have for a later date. Frozen meals stay good in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just give frozen meals 2-3 hours to bake. This is another one of those dishes that is great for pot lucks.

Lori's 4 Cheese Baked Ziti

1 pound box (16 oz) mini penne rigate (or you can use a traditional ziti noodle)
2 pounds ground chuck*
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced, depending on taste
Real sea salt and pepper, to taste
about 66 ounces spaghetti sauce (about 2 1/2 jars)*
15 oz ricotta cheese*
about 4 ounces Cheddar cheese*
about 1- 1 1/4 cups Parmesan cheese
16 ounces (1 lb) Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
pepper, to taste
1 Tbls. dried parsley flakes or fresh parsley, chopped
milk
Olive oil cooking spray

                                                                                                                                  Bake at 350 degrees.
Place pot of water on to boil; cook noodles according to pkg. directions.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, brown ground chuck with onions. garlic, salt, and pepper; drain grease. Return to pot and add spaghetti sauce. Allow to simmer till ready to use.
While meat is cooking, combine cheeses, egg, spices, and enough milk to make creamy, about 1/4-1/3 cup or so. Mix well.
Combine noodles and meat sauce and blend well. Place in a 15" x 10" pan. Spoon cheese mixture over top and spread around lightly. Take a large piece of foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray; cover casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes, till cheese is set and casserole is hot and bubbly. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven to melt over top. Allow casserole to sit for 10-15 minutes so cheese will set up before cutting into. Makes enough to serve 8-10, possibly more if served with salad and bread.

*You can use less meat, but we like lots of meat. If using less meat you can cut down some on spaghetti sauce.
*Spaghetti sauce used to come in 32 ounce quart jars. Spaghetti sauce now comes in 24 oz to 26 oz jars. I use the Meijer brand spaghetti sauce and sometimes Bertolli or Ragu. I mix the brands. I use about 2 1/2 jars of sauce in this dish and freeze the remainder in its original jar till needed for another dish.
*I never measure the Cheddar cheese I add, I just dump in what looks right.
*Make sure you get a good ricotta cheese, one not made with a lot of added ingredients. Miceli's is good as it only contains milk, whey, cream, vinegar, and salt. Other brands contain guar gum, modified corn starch, and preservatives.
*You can also add green pepper and mushrooms to this recipe, if you'd like.






Lori's Pot Roast with Gravy

                                                             
Many people love a good pot roast with gravy, especially on a cold fall or winter day. I like to use a chuck roast or an arm roast. Arm roasts are harder to find unless you go to a meat shop or a small town grocery. I haven't seen one for years in any of the chain grocery stores. There is a small grocery in Thornville, OH which still sells arm roasts, and I stop there once in awhile and buy one. Either cuts work well. You could use a round cut, but the taste and texture is not the same, and not as good as it will be much drier.

Lori's Pot Roast with Gravy

Olive oil cooking spray
1 good sized roast, about 3-4 pounds (smaller, if you have a small family or don't want leftovers)
season salt
pepper
1-2 onions, sliced into rings
2-3 MSG-free bouillon beef cubes (Herb-Ox is a good choice)
potatoes, quartered*
1 pound of carrots, sliced
sliced or diced fresh mushrooms, if desired*
unbleached flour
water
About 1/2 Tbls. parsley flakes, fresh or dried, optional
1-2 small sprigs of fresh thyme, optional

In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch Oven, place pot over heat and spray with olive oil spray. Once pan is hot, add meat and sear well on both sides. I usually place fatty side down so some of the fat cooks off helping meat to not stick. Once seared, remove from heat. Sprinkle with season salt and pepper, to taste. Add onions to the top of roast, covering all over. Add bouillon cubes to sides of pan, and add 2 cups of water. Put on lid and place in 325 degree oven. Allow to cook for 4 hours, adding more water, as needed so it does not go dry.You want to maintain at least 1 1/2 cups of water by time done so you have some for gravy.
About one hour before meat is done, add mushrooms, if used,  potatoes and carrots over top of meat and around meat. Salt and pepper the vegetables, to taste. Cover and bake an additional 45-60 minutes, till vegetables are fork tender and done. Remove vegetables if you want to make gravy. Remove meat to a platter.
Place about 1/4 cup unbleached flour in a glass jar, add some water, and bout 1/2 cup, and shake well. Make sure no lumps are in water. Place pot on burner and turn to medium heat. When water begins to boil, add flour mixture, stirring constantly, until to desired thickness. Stir in parsley and some fresh thyme, if desired.

*We usually have mashed potatoes, though we sometimes make potatoes like this with the roast.
*I hate mushrooms so I usually cook some in butter and add them to a separate pan with some gravy for Bob.

Lori's Johnny Marzetti

                                                                                                                           
I love trivia, and the story of Johnny Marzetti is an interesting one, besides being an iconic dish created right here in Columbus, Ohio. I got this information from the Ohio History Central site:

"Ohioan Teresa Marzetti was the first person to serve the casserole Johnny Marzetti in a restaurant.
In 1896, Italian immigrant Marzetti arrived in the United States of America. That same year, Marzetti established an Italian restaurant in Columbus, Ohio on Broad Street. This restaurant closed in 1942, but another restaurant, which had opened in 1919, remained in operation until 1972, when Teresa Marzetti died. Before opening the original restaurant, Marzetti wrote, "We will start a new place and serve good food. At a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but we will serve good food."
One of the dishes that Marzetti offered her customers became known as Johnny Marzetti, which was named for Teresa Marzetti's brother-in-law. A baked casserole, the dish included ground beef, cheese, tomato sauce, and noodles. It is unclear when Marzetti's restaurant first offered the dish, but by the 1920s, it had become popular across Ohio and the Midwest. This was primarily due to the ease of preparation and the tastiness of Johnny Marzetti."

From the 1940's through the 1990's most schools in central Ohio had Johnny Marzetti on the menu at least once a month. It was always a favorite dish of most school kids. School cooks almost always made their dish using egg noodles, which is what I prefer. Most all families in central Ohio have a variation on this dish as it comes in many styles, most notable is that many people have traditionally made this dish with elbow macaroni. When I was growing up, my mom made this dish with elbow macaroni, and so did most people I knew. My late ex-mother-in-law, Letha Huber, used to brown ground beef with onions, add cooked elbow macaroni, cans of stewed tomatoes, and enough tomato juice to keep it from being dry. We all loved it.

The only Johnny Marzetti I've had that I do not like in any way is the one made with canned tomato soup. It is a disgusting creation, and I do not know why people cook with tomato soup when diced or stewed tomatoes make for a more tasty and appetizing dish. But however you make yours, make sure you try this recipe that I created over the years, as I tried to make a tasty and delicious casserole that we would crave. And crave we do as this is the quintessential comfort food.

Lori's Johnny Marzetti

2 pounds ground chuck*
1 onion, chopped
about 1/4- 1/2 cup green pepper, diced*
2-4 minced garlic cloves*
Real sea salt (pink) and pepper, to taste*
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
3 (cans) 15 oz  tomato sauce, plus 1 8 oz. can*
2 tablespoons brown sugar, to cut acid from tomatoes
1 16 oz bag medium egg noodles ( I use Meijer brand)
16 oz (1 lb.) Cheddar cheese, grated*
Olive oil cooking spray*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put large pot of water on to boil for the noodles. When ready, cook noodles according to pkg. directions; drain and set aside if not ready.
Meanwhile, brown beef in a 6 quart dutch oven, along with onion, green peppers, garlic, salt and pepper; drain grease when done. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, and brown sugar; let simmer till noodles are ready.
Combine noodles and meat sauce in large pot and blend well. Stir in grated cheese. Pour into a 15" x 10" casserole dish. Spray some foil with cooking spray and cover casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil, sprinkle more cheese over top and return to oven till cheese is melted. Remove from oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving to give cheese a chance to set up some. This makes a large amount that will feed 8-10 people, maybe a bit more, depending on appetites. You can halve this recipe and bake in a smaller pan. This is also great for pot lucks or as funeral food.

*I use ground chuck from grass fed cows.
*I don't measure green peppers as I just add what looks right. You want the flavor without it being too prevalent. I dice and freeze peppers from our garden to use all year long, so this comes out of our freezer.
*You can use garlic salt  or powder instead, or not at all, but we like garlic. If you use garlic salt, do not add extra salt.
*We only use real sea salt in our foods, the pink kind put out by Redmond's Real Salt.
*You want 53 ounces tomato sauce total. I like it okay with just 48 ounces, but Bob likes his more saucy, so you can play with these amounts for your desired amount. I mainly use 53 ounces.
*I actually use around 24 ounces of cheese as we like ours cheesy. You can divide the 16 ounces up by using 3/4 of the bag and then sprinkling the rest at the end, or you can cook all cheese in casserole and not top with anymore. We like to use a lot of cheese.
*I only use olive oil spray as I do not use vegetable oil (soy, canola, or other) in any of my cooking.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dad's Marzetti

                                                               
When Kym and I were kids, our dad, Rod Matheson, made this recipe up and we used to love it. My brother Scott continued to make this for his friends up until a few months before he passed away. Scott used to say his friends loved this dish and would ask for it, so that he made it several times a year. As I've gotten older, I do not care so much for it, but it might appeal to others. This recipe is a tribute to my dad's resourcefulness in trying to feed Kym and I when we were young. He made many foods, but this was one dish he created himself that Kym and I used to make, and then Scott started making it after our parents were married in 1974.
Back around 1994, the Columbus Dispatch Food Section (I'd have to dig up my copy to find the actual date) asked for people to submit recipes for Father's Day; recipes that their dads were known for making. I sent in this recipe, with a bit of information, and we were featured in the Dispatch Food Section the week of Father's Day! I thought it a great gift for my dad. He, Kym, and I were professionally photographed for the paper, and dad's recipe was featured, along with two other families. I was so grateful we were chosen as I wanted to honor my dad for all the sacrifices he'd done for Kym and I, and what a fantastic dad he'd always been. My dad has always been there for me, no matter what. And I know as long as he lives, he will be there for me. He was always there for all of us, as best as he could be. My dad is the very best dad in the world. I am grateful to God for blessing me with such a great dad. I hope you enjoy his recipe.

Dad's Marzetti

1-2 pounds ground beef (this amount depends on how much meat you like)
1 onion, chopped
garlic salt, to taste*
pepper, to taste
32 ounces of spaghetti sauce*
1 box (14 oz) Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese (cheese in a pouch)*

Fry ground beef up in a skillet with the onions. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Drain grease and return meat to pan. Add spaghetti sauce and heat. Once warm, simmer till needed.
While ground beef is cooking, heat water for macaroni. Cook macaroni according to box directions, when done, drain and add the cheese pouch to the macaroni, blending well. Stir the meat sauce into the macaroni and cheese and mix well. Serves 4-6.

*I like to use real garlic, minced.
*Spaghetti sauce used to come in 32 oz jars, which was the perfect amount for a pound of spaghetti. The amounts have dropped so that you only get 24-26 oz in a jar, so it will take more than one jar of sauce. Freeze what you don't use for a later use.
*Dad always used Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese. When we were kids, the cheese sauce came in a small silver can; now it comes in a silver pouch.

Ready to go!

                                                                 

Alright! I got all those family posts done and now I will be posting my own recipes from now on. Either mine or those I've made from others. Of course, I make some of the recipes I've already posted, but these that will follow will be mine, the ones I use on a regular basis or the ones I've created over the years.

Because of the format on this site, I won't be able to keep these recipes in order like a recipe book where I have all meats, all appetizers, etc. I guess I could try to copy them in this manner, but it would prove most daunting and limit me as I will likely post these as I feel like posting them, so bear with me.

I've been cooking since I was just a kid of around seven to seven and a half years old. I had to cook as my mom had left and I was the oldest of four kids. I started out cooking the simple foods of soups from a can, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and eggs. It was not until I was ten years old that I began to cook regularly, and I was eleven when I began to bake from scratch and from boxes.

I'm excited to begin to post my own recipes and hope that they will appeal to many people. I am just a down home cook who makes mainly rib-sticking meals that are simple and delicious. I've had many people tell me I should open a restaurant, but in this economy, I don't think so as I read that over 300 restaurants are closing their doors daily! Too much of a risk for me as I'd want quality foods and these cost more than the average. And the cost of food is rising exponentially~ with all the flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, and droughts, I can see a food shortage on the horizon, especially for grains such as wheat and corn, and soybeans. No, we do not eat soy if we can help it as soy is NOT  health food, but factory farmed animals are fed soy and corn-based feeds, which means the cost of meats will continue to increase in price. I often buy 'natural' meats that are supposed to be free of antibiotics and hormones, but the cost is sometimes out of my budget. I've also bought grass-fed beef when I've caught it on sale, but this is not often as it rarely goes on sale, and when it does, it means a trip to the north side of Columbus.
I also want you all to note that I try to eat only real foods as much as possible. I do on occasion use a boxed instant pudding mix or maybe once in awhile a boxed cake mix, but mainly I make my own. I will post some recipes that use convenience foods, but overall, I tend to use only real foods. A list of the real foods we consume are as follows: Redmond's Real sea salt (this is pink and found in some groceries, but found in most health food stores), real lard and tallow that I've rendered down, strained, and frozen; extra virgin olive oil, palm shortening (from Tropical Traditions, see side bar for listings), organic coconut oil, organic palm oil, real whipped cream, organic, free-range eggs from a local farm, real (raw) milk, real butter, unbleached flour when using white flour, whole wheat when using wheat flour, and fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits, as much as possible. I do on occasion use canned beans for convenience, and I do can my own produce from my garden and we use these. I do keep canned fruits and vegetables in the house for emergencies and sometimes convenience, but we use them sparingly as they do not have much in the way of nutritional value.
Happy eating!
Lori

Friday, June 3, 2011

Stephanie's Buckeye Bars


                                                                          

Stephanie's Buckeye Bars**

1 cup peanut butter*
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups grahams cracker crumbs*
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
10 ounces milk chocolate chips*
6 Tbls. oil*

Combine peanut butter, butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar, mix well. Pat into 13" x 9" pan. In small saucepan, melt milk chocolate chips with oil and pour over top of mixture in pan. Chill for a few hours, then cut into bars.

*Use a natural peanut butter for better health.
*Place graham crackers in a blender or food processor and make your own crumbs.
*I always use semi-sweet chips.
*Use a light olive oil (but no canola or soy in it!) or palm shortening for the oil called for in this recipe and cut it down to 1 Tbls.
**I've been making a very similar recipe, but mine is patted into a 9" x 9" pan and I add a tsp. of vanilla extract.

Stephanie's Strawberries & Cream Cloud

                                                            

This is really delicious!

Stephanie's Strawberries & Cream Cloud

2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1- Ready-prepared Angel Food cake (12-13 oz)
1 container (8 oz.) vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 pkg (3 3/4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
12 oz pgk Cool Whip*
9 whole strawberries, for garnish

In small bowl, gently mix sliced strawberries with preserves; set aside.
Slice angel food cake into twenty 1/2" slices.
Line a medium sized glass bowl with large piece plastic wrap.
In a separate bowl, combine yogurt and milk. Whisk in pudding mix till thickens. Stir in two cups of Cool Whip.
To assemble, cover bottom of mixing bowl (with plastic wrap) with  five cake slices. Layer one third the strawberry mixture evenly over cake slices. Spread one third the pudding mixture. Cover with five more
cake slices and later again. Make another layer and then cover with remaining cake slices. Press down lightly after each layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.
To serve, invert dessert onto serving platter and remove plastic wrap. Frost with remaining Cool Whip. Cut whole strawberries in half. Place strawberries stem ends down evenly around bottom edge of dessert.

*Real whipped cream could be used instead.
You could also make your own cake.

Stephanie's Hot Broccoli Dip

                                                                                                                              

Stephanie's Hot Broccoli Dip

1 round bread, unsliced (sold in bakery dept.)*
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbls. butter*
1 pound Velveeta cheese
1- 10 ounce pkg. frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced, (optional)*

Cut and slice from top of bread. Remove center leaving 1" shell. Tear removed bread into bite-sized pieces. Saute' celery and onions in butter until tender. Add cheese, stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in remaining ingredients (not bread!); heat thoroughly, stirring constantly. Spoon into bread 'bowl'. Serve with vegetables and torn bread pieces.

*You can make your own bread, if you like, as a sourdough would go well with this.
*Original recipe called for margarine, but to make more healthy I subbed butter.
*I added the pepper for color.

Stephanie's Cream Broccoli Au Gratin Soup

                                                                  

Stephanie's Cream Broccoli Au Gratin Soup

2 Tbls. Butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 3/4 cup water
1 pkg. Uncle Ben's Country Inn Brand Broccoli Rice Au Gratin
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook onion in butter in 6 quart or larger pan until tender. Add water and contents of rice pkg. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Combine flour and dry mustard in small bowl. Gradually add about 1/2 cup broth and mix till smooth. Add to simmered soup, along with rest of broth nd milk. Heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese till melted.

Stephanie's Taco Salad

                                                                

Stephanie's Taco Salad

Layer in order given in a 13" x 9" pan:

1 head chopped lettuce
onions, chopped*
sliced tomatoes*
1 1/2 pounds browned hamburger, grease drained, mixed with dry taco mix
8 ounces shredded Taco cheese
1 cup Miracle Whip, 1 cup sour cream, 1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix, combine together and mix well
Doritos, crushed
Chill and serve cold.

*You could use chopped green onion
*You could dice the tomatoes